Before analyzing why I believe Pence is sticking it out in the special kind of crazy that has become the Trump administration, we need to first digest some facts regarding the many times President Trump has happily thrown the vice-president under the bus. Most recently, there was the time on May 10th when Pence attempted to quell a media firestorm over the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election by claiming in no uncertain terms that Trump ousted FBI Director James Comey based on recommendations from legal counsel. Full remarks below.
Let me be very clear that the president’s decision to accept the recommendation of the Deputy Attorney General and the Attorney General to remove Director Comey as the head of the FBI was based soley and exclusively on his commitment to the best interests of the American people.
However, the next day on May 11th President Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt in an interview that he was going to fire Director Comey regardless of recommendations. And despite Pence’s claims that the firing was not related to the Russia investigation, Trump indicated in the interview that the investigation had weighed heavily on his mind at the time he fired Comey. Video of the interview below.
Then there was the time that the Trump administration sent Pence out on Face The Nation back in January, shortly before the inauguration, to dispel rumors that General Mike Flynn had discussed sanctions with high-level Russian officials before the election. However, a lawyer for Flynn hedged and said that he could not be certain that such a meeting had not occurred. (Most Americans already know how this part of the story ended: Trump fired Flynn after it was revealed that he had indeed met numerous times with Russian officials, omitted the meetings from his security clearance forms, and neglected to mention that he was a representative of Turkish interests while working as National Security Advisor). Full video of the interview below.
So why would Pence want to stick it out after President Trump has left him with egg on his face on several different occasions, likely indicating his intent and suggesting a lack of coincidence? After all, there are no coincidences in politics. And why would Trump want to publicly embarrass his own vice-president? Trump originally picked Pence as his vice-president because of his knowledge of domestic and foreign policy, his ability to successfully navigate the “swamp” that he called home for over a decade, and his general political athleticism.
I do not question for one second that Vice-President Pence believes deeply in President Trump’s Muslim ban, his idea to build a “great wall” on America’s southern border, or his attempts at dismantling the Affordable Care Act and passing draconian healthcare reforms. He has certainly proven his conservative bona fides in Congress and as governor of Indiana. But here is what I do question: his loyalty to President Trump. I believe that, at the end of the day, he is loyal to one person and one person only: Mike Pence. The reason he is sticking in there is not out of some admirable loyalty to the president; he is simply waiting in the shadows as he watches the media and the Democrats circling the political wagons. In short, he is biding his time until he can take over the reigns and rescue America from the Trump presidency. A modern day knight in shining armor.
Why else would someone who first ran for elected office on a platform of making our federal government function again stick by a president who has been unable to achieve many tangible victories, certainly not any legislation? He certainly has not changed much ideologically or politically since his first Congressional run in 2000. But don’t take my word for it, though, you can view one of his first campaign ads below. “Let’s get Congress Working Again”. I doubt that Congressman Pence, who built his political career on pointing out the need for Congress to address the needs of people, would be proud of Vice-President Pence for supporting a presidential agenda that he knows has little to no chance of ever coming to fruition in either chamber of Congress. After all, he spent 10 years in Congress and is well-versed in the “art of the possible”, legislatively speaking.
These are not coincidences. This is Pence’s version of the waiting game. And perhaps I speak for myself when I say this, but I do find it somewhat disheartening to see someone stop fighting to get our federal government working for us and re-route all of their time and energy into fighting for their own political advancement.
Written By: Brett Zografos (@BrettZografos)